Whateva / Best “Church” Service: Sunday Brunch with Gene Schiller (Hawaii Public Radio)
This is respecting the Sabbath at its best. Brunch begins with a classic number or two. Listeners laugh at Schiller’s witty jokes (heard the one about the viola?), and then some of us Facebook stalk him.
Best use of vandalism to prove a point: The Love Robot Graffiti
“You don’t love me.” “Yes I do, and I’m going to show you.”
…and so began the treacherous journey of the Love Robot, or so the story goes. It started simply enough: A dozen or so wooden plywood free-standing paintings propped up against the alleys and sidewalks of the May First Friday. Within an hour only four remained. Now every time he shows up on a wall or dumpster, his heart-antenna drooping, all we can wonder is whether or not she believes he loves her.
Best Honolulu party that wasn’t a Honolulu party: The Do-Over (LA)
For years these guys have been selling out patios at rotating venues on Sunday afternoons for party-goers who just don’t want their weekends to end. So? Things that do well in Los Angeles or New York don’t always do so well in Honolulu. They just don’t. So the fact that Jamie Strong and his friend Aloe Blacc (“I need dolla, dolla”) could bring their entire sell-out party to a Sunday afternoon at thirtyninehotel AND get the party packed the day after a Shake & Pop says that yes, it works sometimes. .
Best bar décor: Lotus, Downtown
Lotus owner Paul Shih has impeccable taste. You can see that in his clubs the second you walk in. Hell, if you’ve never been to his clubs, you can see it in his event flyers, online or around town. After a trip to China to see the hottest trends in materials and fixtures, he fell in love with the idea of using tens of thousands of real Swarovski crystals to make this custom dragon chandelier. So what if the price could pay my rent for two years, it has made a huge impact on the look and feel of that street. Forty thousand-plus crystals will do that.
Best “missed connection”: Craigslist Honolulu
There are different types of Craigslist “Missed Connections.” Vague figurative ones such as a title that reads, “U’ll always be my missed connection (Universe) -m4w: Part of Me.” Or the more common pattern such as, “Barnes and Noble -m4w 41: I saw you sitting at Barnes n Nobles and you were really smokin. I wanted to talk to you but I didn’t know what to say so I said Off the ground, house rules! I don’t work there, I didn’t mean to scare you, interested?” Needless to say, I responded promptly, and we will marry next fall..
Best 2011 comeback: 808Skate (Kailua)
After petitioning the state and the city for years to zone skate parks, making an award-wining feature film selected by multiple film festivals across the nation and getting married, Chuck Mitsui was bored. It was time to get back to his skateboarding roots and re-claim the skate shop he started in 1995 (the first in Hawaii) and sold to HIC. Now the people of Kailua and the entire east side have their local shop back in the hands of the guy who created it. Congratulations to our favorite skate park activist and all around good guy. We like it when Chuck gets bored.
Best place to buy dresses while justifying the price tag: Muumuu Heaven
The styles at Muumuu Heaven are extremely simple, so I’ve known many a woman (myself included) who’s had to lie about the price of these dresses ($150-$300) to her significant other. But the pieces–old muumuu refashioned into modern dresses–are undeniably flattering and unique. Muumuu Heaven wins green business awards and donates 1 percent of profits to environmental organizations.
Best eating neighborhood to forget you’re in America: Koreamoku
Chinatown comes to mind, but when it comes to excellent ethnic food and dining at all hours of the day, Koreamoku (the stretch of Keeaumoku Street between Kapiolani Boulevard and King Street) wins. There’s Korean institution Sorabol, with 24 hour dining; Sikdorak, 24 hour dining, plus all-you-can-eat yakiniku; Ireh for homestyle Korean; Nobulae for Korean fried chicken; Keeaumoku Supermarket to cook Korean food at home; and many more eateries, not all Korean, tucked into the plazas and side streets of Keeaumoku.
Best chef in the know: Neil Nakasone
As another chef says, “Neil is the chef’s bartender.” If you want to know who’s moving to which kitchen, which chef is opening a new restaurant and all the culinary world gossip, find Neil at Home Bar and Grill and buy him a drink.
Best park: Makiki District Park
The joint is nearly always jumpin’ at this largish three-sectioned park, with a football-field sized side parallel to Wilder Avenue and siding Keeaumoku Street, where you’ll find soccer, Frisbee-football, kids’ birthday parties, tai chi, dog walks (illegal), kite-flying, Samoan day-time sleep-throughs, flourishing garden plots (vegetables, mostly), elders’ exercise, people practicing musical instruments (including saxophones, flutes and guitars), all attended by variegated bird life: Java Temple Birds, Faerie Terns, huge egrets, ruby-throated finches and even wild parrots. The second section has classroom buildings, full-sized swimming pool, tennis courts and, still in the planning phase, a dog park. Not all is paradasical: yours truly was once mugged in this park; but the police caught the buggahs.
Best coffee shop, sandwich and soup joint, fresh bakery, bagel venue, gossip center: Sure Shot
The 15 varieties of coffee are piping hot and the staff are dewy fresh at the Sure Shot where stuff is made from scratch including cakes, quiches, 12 kinds of sandwiches (try the ono Reuben), muffins/rolls, lemonade and cereals. The clientele ranges from suits on their way to work, professional students, unregenerate Hippies, voluptuous couples and occasional teevee stars. Service is brisk, waiters fast-witted and the reading material on the library wall positively quaint.
Best retro/premiere movie mix: The Movie Museum
Need a mix/fix of celebrated older international movies, premieres of films allegedly too esoteric for our corporate movie-houses, and in-betweeners, movies that have fallen through the cracks. Showings (matinees and evenings) four days a week; plus a rental library of classic films. Maybe best of all: Folks actually leave this l9-seat theatre talking about the movies, even arguing. For example, in August you could see Mao’s Last Dancer, Small Town Murder Songs, Win Win and Queen to Play. —
Best hole in the wall: Hole in the Wall
Fort Street Mall has its share, and more, of eateries tucked away here and there, including a swell new creperie, and fusion-cuisine (some by default) by the countable 10s. None is so small as Hole in the Wall, about as unpretentious as they come–and, of its kind, downhome unpolitically-correct foodstuff. A lunch time venue usually chockfull of habitués (and sons of habitués) grinding on one huge special per day (ribs, Texas B-B-Q chicken, etc.), plus nearly 20 regular entrees and 15 or so sandwiches.
The stuff is good, old-time. Duck in sometime; it’s like standing in a railroad car, but there are a few (modest) chairs and tables. It’s American food at its most American.
Best worst intersection that makes you laugh: Piikoi and Lunalilo
If you’ve ever been on the road, headed toward the intersection that is Piikoi-meets-Lunalilo between the hours of 3:30 and 6pm on a weekday, then you know exactly what. Build. Up. We’re. Talk. Ing. A. Bout.
We’re talking about the colorblind driver who always insists on spinning his steering Wheel of Fortune trying to beat the yellow as he makes a left onto Lunalilo Steet via Piikoi Street during rush hour traffic. Nice 43,767th-in-the-history-of-this-intersection try, Evel Knievel, but it’s never going to happen! Now the cars on Lunalilo in the far left lane with their rightful green can’t just flow on through because you’ve managed to successfully block all of civilization east of Honolulu from going anywhere.
See, there’s nothing really “wrong” with this intersection. It gets you where you need to go at a relative pace depending on the hour of the day. In theory, this intersection works just fine. We just can’t seem to shift our way into it.
The next time you’re stuck in this cluster-you-know-what with nowhere to go because some driver is in desperado overdrive, consider this: Here we are, a human species that’s revolutionized the way we travel–from fording oxen through rivers to crossing distances in three-quarters of the time with the push of a pedal–going nowhere fast, stalled in an assembly line of pure 21st century hopelessness. Fasten your seatbelt, turn up the AC, thank Science we don’t have flying cars or jet packs, and laugh.
Best Yelp reviewer: Val
There are people who take Yelp seriously, and THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO TAKE YELP SERIOUSLY. What makes user “Val” the best reviewer in Honolulu is he is refreshingly neither.
Look, Yelp is great. I use it to weigh what restaurants are in my proximity versus how many stars it has versus the number of people I’m willing to run over for some food, you feel me? But Yelp is not my religion. The entitlement that comes with a mobile WiFi connection and an opinion, while entertaining, isn’t exactly a spiritual awakening. I’m always going to take the word of a few close, real life friends over the hasty typewritten characters of an anonymous many on the Internet. All that said, Val feels like a close friend.
Using acrostics, fictional scripts, fake tweets and in one a case a gangsta rap, Val spins stories (yes, stories) of his visits, approaching each review more as a diary than a pretentious Zagat guide. Who would’ve thought a senior citizen Buddhist would be the most creative guy Yelp-ing the Honolulu circuit?
But what sets Val apart from his compatriot Yelp-ers in his reviews, which include everything from auto tinting to Sensually Yours, are his side servings of grumpy old man truths.
Val on his grievances of the new Star-Advertiser: “First of all, let me explain something you might not know. For some reason, as you get older little things start irritating you more and more. Wives and gf’s of old men that read newspapers know what I mean.” Truth.
On Yogurstory’s coffee: “Yes, I want my coffee filled to the top and not one-third of the way down. I am paying for a full cup. This is something so simple to understand. Why do I have to explain? Why do you have to irritate me so much?” Preach.
On Waikiki: “Yes, there are men out there that go to Waikiki Beach because they still think they are playas!!” Burn!
On a hip DJ Nocturna party: “I drive into the parking lot of Waterfront Plaza and head straight for the restroom to comb down my receding hair.” Whoa. Sincerity and self-deprecation on, of all places, Yelp? That alone earns my five stars.
Best place to cry in the afternoon: Waikiki Edition
The Waikiki Edition is on a bottle of Quaaludes, and I love it. Guests just lounge about poolside like they’re characters in the latest Bret Easton Ellis novel, and everything’s so dipped in delusion you can’t help but Disappear Here. In fact, sometimes that’s all you want to do, which makes it the perfect place for a pick-me-up cry in the pm. If you’re going to get sloppy, might as well do it where hospitality rules.
What locals don’t take enough advantage of while livin’ la vida 808 is the ability to infiltrate the Suite Life. See in normal boring life it’s all about examining the ideals you carry and then compromising them with reality on the daily. But in the Suite Life, you can pretty much get away with murdering your level-headedness, then score a tan and some Egyptian cotton towels out of it.
The Edition is a “boutique hotel,” which is code for “rehab for exhaustion,” which is code for “have some alcohol.” Since most of the people here are guests anyway, you’ll never have to worry about seeing them ever again, and that’s absolutely crucial. The faux invisibility here for locals sort of gives you the permission pass to pretend to be someone else entirely. Order a $14 drink and $16 salad with a Greek accent. Tweet @KimKardashian to meet you poolside. Even if you don’t have to use them, visit those amazing bathrooms at least five times because clearly you’ve become possessed by this point (I mean, you did just tweet a Kardashian… #thatawkwardmoment).
Basically do whatever you got to do to remind yourself you came here to cry on a weekday afternoon, except this isn’t you. It’s all in the preparation, baby.
Once the hard part is over, time for something easy…cry away. Added bonus: since uber rich people are pros at keeping their problems under the deep blue insecurity sea, they wouldn’t know what to do if you shed a tear in public. “Um, I have a little blow if you want it? Here, use my therapist’s business card to cut it. He’s amazing. Feel better!” In between astronomical rents and the homeless guy who peed on you in Chinatown, if you ever need a me-ment to just “get away,” then a solid cry into your mojito at the Edition is the prescription you’re seeking. Just don’t make it habit. ‘Cause that would be sad.
Best way to combine the ocean and sub-cultures: A Hawaii Music Festival Cruise
A couple of years ago, we were lamenting on Twitter about how cool the Bruise Cruise Festival is, with three days in the Carribbean and bands such as King Khan & The Shrines and Thee Oh Sees. So Painted Highways’s Mike Pooley tweeted back his wishes for a similar cruise here that would travel from island to island. Environmental Impact Survey (EIS) concerns aside, this would be a great way for locals visit other islands, entice more bands to play in Hawaii and bring a visiting demographic that usually doesn’t like the beach (ahem, pale hipsters).
Best way for bars and restaurants to attract more business: More Outdoor Seating
Yes, we’ve said and heard this time and again. But come on! Seasons mean almost nothing here. So why can’t we take advantage of it? How many times have you and your friends decided to go here or there just so certain people can smoke? With longer summer days, sitting indoors while the sun is still up is a waste.
Best job for gaining weight: Any local government job
We’re not implying that state or city workers are lazy. We’re saying working for the government here is a guaranteed way of never going hungry again. There’s so much food in the office all the time, it’s not funny. People bring you food for every occasion and for no occasion. There are food sale fundraisers. There are cake, ice cream and pizza breaks for birthdays. You start bringing in trays of food to thank others for bringing in food earlier in the week. And then those people return your favor with another food favor. And the cycle never ends. Workers clandestinely cook on hot plates to relieve the stress of long hours and being underpaid. Pretty soon, your clothes don’t fit quite right and you start taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Then you join a gym. So is life.
Best local Instagramer: Landon Tom of The Jump Offs
Disclosure: Landon was once a Weekly intern. But that doesn’t change the fact that his photos of bleeding wounds, barf, beer and possibly illegal contraband–all through dreamy, retro filters–make you feel like just as much of a local rock star as he is.
Best new sandwich that sadly no longer exists: Cheese toast burgers at Everybody Loves Cheeseburgers
Not like we’ve never heard of cheese toast. It’s just that having cheese toast be a standard choice alongside a potato or wheat bun is…genius. The crinkle-cut fries were reminiscent of school cafeteria lunches and the patties were pretty plain. But…cheese toast! Even better on a cheeseburger! Oh, Ward Warehouse fast-food eatery, your time was too short.
Best way to look like a fool (females): Flying squirrel/moth wings look. With Jesus shoes.
You’ve most likely seen those shapeless shirts. You don’t really know how to put them on at first, or put them back on the hanger, for that matter. The over-sized sleeves make you look like you have excess flesh webs connecting your arms to your torso. You might think it looks flirty and flowy. But you really just look like a bat out of fashion hell. That look paired with the gladiator/Jesus sandals that never seem to die creates a look more blinding than the noontime sun.
Best way to look like a fool if you have a big head (males): Straw fedoras
It makes 9-to-5ers think they can magically transform into cool, casual dudes with swagger who can cruise the bars for chicks. While some skaters and hip-hop heads can pull the look off more than others who tend to be less fashionable, no one looks good in these small-brimmed hats if they have big heads. If bigheads wear the hats angled up, they’re pretty much asking for a receding hairline look. No one ever said half-bald was sexy.
Best new slang for old people: Swaaaag!
It’s all about swagger these days (see straw fedora blurb). The kids yell it at hip-hop shows. That’s all. You don’t really have to know what it means. From one old person to another: just yell it when you think it seems appropriate.
Best city to be in, if you want to be safe: ours, Almost
Surprising? Honolulu ranked number two on the lowest crime rate list. El Paso takes the first spot and New York City the third, according to independent research firm, CQ press 2010-2011. Is that a free pass to wonder the streets of Waianae at 2am? That’s a negative. “Oahu, beautiful beaches, great entertainment, and safest place to visit” is our new tourism slogan. We certainly can’t help being a triple threat.
Best game plan for a successful date: Bubbies
For a plenteous choice of sexy ice cream concoctions, go to Bubbies. The local ice cream shop is still serving mouthwatering treats for the young, the old and the experimental. With ice cream cakes like “first night” and “prisoner of my mind,” what better way to start out on that romantic date? Take a slice of “keep it up all night” just incase. To ensure success, stay away from the “bathtub toilet sundae,” you’ll be glad you did. Second stop, perhaps a look-out spot with a view of the ocean (free); who knew date nights could be so cheap.
Best place to exercise indoors: 24 Hour Fitness Pearl City
The national chain 24 Hour Fitness in Pearl City puts every other gym on the island to shame. Two stories of brand new cardio equipment, free weights and strange strength building contraptions that look and move like a cross between futuristic vehicles and death traps from one of the Saw movies.
And why go outside into the sun when you can swim in the giant indoor pool, hit the Jacuzzi and enjoy a steam or sauna? With the glass wall separating that particular area from the rest of the gym, you can also look in from the outside and vice versa: It’s like an aquarium for hotties.
Best beach in a local national park: Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park in Kailua-Kona on the Big Island.
A short hike along the north side of Honokohau Harbor brings you to a secluded area of white sand beaches, where large turtles let you know the beach really belongs them. You can swim, snorkel, shore dive or explore the petroglyphs and ancient brackish water fishponds.
Best production assistant who quit in August: Matthew Akiyama
Those blank stares. That low Barry White from Okinawa voice. That unwashed mane of black hair that somehow seemed to have a life its own, defying gravity and standing up on end for hours without the aid of any product.
Still, he was a good papaya. Like a wide-eyed intern fresh off a UH shuttle bus, he took all of our editorial abuse and still managed, miraculously, to retain a compassionate sense of gentleness unheard of in the Weekly office.
Good-night, sweet egg prince.
Best use of the Weekly by a celebrity: HW & Jeff Tweedy sitting in a tree, k-i-s-s-i…
Imagine our surprise when Wilco frontman, Jeff Tweedy, kissed the Weekly during his show at Hawaii Theatre. The feeling is mutual.